Applications for technology continue to explode in our modern world! New technology is constantly in development, allowing you to better connect with your audience. CSD lives on the leading edge of the movement and a question often heard is, “Should we use traditional projection or an LED wall?”
Our goals here are two-fold: to shed light on the difference between the projection and LED walls and understand the applications that work best for each. In many cases either technology will work but understanding the differences may provide the basis for deciding which will work best. Here are three considerations when choosing projection or an LED wall.
1. Brightness is not the only difference.
Brightness is the most noticeable difference. Projected images are a reflection of light off of a screen, therefore, they are impacted by ambient light as well as other light reflected off of the screen. LED walls produce light (rather than reflect) and are brighter and clearer with higher contrast. They are essential for outdoor applications and work very well indoors with high ambient light.
Projection systems require space between the projector and screen, therefore the shape and space of the room need to be considered. LED walls have their own unique set of room requirements: clearance behind the wall, overhead structure and specialized rigging (LED walls are heavy).
Distance from the image to the viewer is critical to both applications. There are a number of considerations here, but a basic rule of thumb is that projection is better when people are closer to the image. LED walls can be too bright and require a very tight pitch count (the measurement between pixels) to be effective at close range.
2. LED walls do cost more.
The pricing difference between projection and LED is one of the biggest factors in making this decision. Based on our research and sales, typically LED walls cost around 10-20% more than professional quality projection. Many factors account for the difference: quality of the LED wall, LED pitch, type of projection, etc., but overall, plan on a LED wall costing 20% more.
Operating costs provide a bit of balance. One example is projector lamp replacement. For a church running a projector up to 10 hours a week the lamps should be replaced at least every three years, if not more often. LED walls don’t require this expense.
3. Service issues are handled differently.
In reality the serviceable life of LED is relative to projection. The key difference lies in the fact that typically when you start having problems with a projector, it affects the entire unit, leaving you without visual elements. In most cases the question becomes repair or replacement of the projector. LED walls are modular in construction and function differently. The majority of LED wall problems affect specific modules; therefore, repair is accomplished at the modular level. The bottom line is that LED wall service is typically on site, quick, and accomplished while maintaining most of the functionality of the LED wall.
4. Varying levels of professional assistance are recommended.
While CSD recommends professional assistance for design and installation of projection systems; there is much more to a well-functioning projection system than hanging a screen and focusing a projector. The reality is that a percentage of the technical directors we serve could do the work themselves (they choose not to). However, design and installation of an LED wall requires professional assistance. The liability of the rigging alone should make this decision. Hanging the panels and connecting them together is the most visible part of the installation, but also a small percentage of the larger project.
The emergence of Laser Projection
Laser Projection is changing the game a bit. Laser images can be as crisp and as bright as traditional lamp-based projectors. Their price point puts them higher than lamp-based projectors, but usually lower than the LED wall, with the advantage of lower operational costs than traditional projectors. They do require the basic needs of a projection system (viz. reflective surface, space and unobstructed sight line, etc.).
Contact the CSD team today for a free consultation to discuss which product is the right choice for you.